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Clegg enters Tory row over Muslims and British values

21st Jun 2014
Clegg enters Tory row over Muslims and British values

 

 

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has intervened in the government row that threatens to disbar Muslims from serving as trustees or governors of new academies and free schools. He also said the reporting and comments by the Government may have led to an increase in Islamophobia.

Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi welcoming the intervention by Clegg said, “The Muslim community is feeling under siege and feel the politicians and media attack is pure and simple Islamophobia and pandering to right wing voters. Muslims being treated as second class citizens only seems to worsen.”

Challenging claims that Muslims and British values are incompatible, Clegg said that there is “absolutely no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the UK are patriotic citizens who hold values that entirely accord with the traditions and values of our nation.”

 

“For generations many British Muslims have helped protect, defend and enhance these values through their voluntary, civic and military service to our country.”

 

The Deputy Prime Minister challenged the dispute between Education Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May over who can be toughest on Muslim “extremism” in their battle to replace Prime Minister David Cameron as the next Tory leader.

 

“It would be fundamentally wrong for British citizens who hold the Islamic faith to be held to a different, or indeed, higher standard from other citizens.” Clegg said.

 

“ Being Muslim does not contradict being British, nor is it in tension with it. A person can uphold their religious and cultural identity as well as British identity,” he warned.

 

In a letter to the Muslim Council of Britain, the deputy prime minister expressed concerns that some of the recent reporting in the government campaign against Birmingham schools may have led to an increase in Islamophobia. “If this is the case clearly it is deeply regrettable,” he said.

2 Responses to “Clegg enters Tory row over Muslims and British values”

Iftikhar AhmadJune 21, 2014

Community leaders have warned that some Muslims could be effectively barred from becoming trustees or governors of new academies and free schools under rules introduced by the education secretary, Michael Gove, in response to the “Trojan horse” controversy. British values’ – would those be the ones where putting a cat in a wheelie bin (quite rightly) gets you in trouble, but putting people out on the street because they don’t fit in with party dogma is ‘moral’? By telling the Muslims, oh they are not British, they don’t have British values, they are not integrated, all that is happening is that Muslims are feeling more Isolated than ever. The government and Gove has been extremely foolish with their remarks. Instead of being the solution, the government is the FCK problem !!

The Department for Education has inserted new clauses into the model funding agreement for academies stipulating that its governors should demonstrate “fundamental British values”, and giving the secretary of state powers to close schools if they do not comply. Some years back a local primary school wanting to become a C of E school. Many people objected , including parents, parent governors, staff and a couple of independent governors. What happened. Oh it became a C-o-f E school, because the people who objected where no longer told when meeting where and when they asked were given the wrong date or time. What happened, it became a christian school and started every day with morning prayers and had religious instruction daily. Its now a christian academy, that few local people send their children to, and christian parents go for miles to take their children to. But then according to Cameron this is a christian country. I bet he does not believe in discrimination and bigotry either !! But we have done all of those horrible activities informed by supposed British values in the past and, according to Gove, British values are ones that have stood the test of time.

Come on now Gove. Cameron et. al. we are still waiting for an honest assessment of British Values that make the UK different from the rest of the world.
How is the UK different from, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Japan, Poland etc. What are the people in each countries different values in relation to basic human values. Just admit that there you don’t know and just thought it was a nice catchy phrase and stop been prates and wasting the time you should spend working constructively. Do you think that the “coalition” ministers and leaders are earning their money, or benefiting the UK with this nonsense.Come on now Gove. Cameron et. al. we are still waiting for an honest assessment of British Values that make the UK different from the rest of the world. How is the UK different from, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Japan, Poland etc. What are the people in each countries different values in relation to basic human values. Just admit that there you don’t know and just thought it was a nice catchy phrase and stop been prates and wasting the time you should spend working constructively. Do you think that the “coalition” ministers and leaders are earning their money, or benefiting the UK with this nonsense.

“British values of respect for the law, democracy, equality and tolerance of different faiths and religious and other beliefs.” Well does Britain believe in those values and uphold them and are they long standing values?. Democracy – overthrow of democracy in Iran 1953 and Britain’s colonial past had nothing to do with democracy or the rule of law in the countries they were in. Thatcher was good friends with Pinochet who overthrew democracy in Chile, and Britain supported Suharto in Indonesia who took power in a coup and murdered half a million, with the help of British aid (weapons). Equality, religious tolerance – is that what Britain was promoting when it supported Islamist extremists in Afghanistan?. what about Syria. what about backing for Saudi Arabia as it crushed Shia uprising in the east and also in Bahrain. Just a few months ago, Cameron was in the middle east selling weapons to non democratic monarchies in the middle east that have poor human rights records and who are funding and arming Islamist extremists in Iraq and Syria. I could go on, but equality, tolerance and democracy have nothing to do with Britain and its strategic interests and that has been clearly demonstrated over the last few weeks and decades and centuries. As an acknowledgement of how embarrassing it is, very little of it appears on school curriculum history lessons. If radicalisation and Islamic extremism were so important, why has Britain supported it for decades in other countries. in Saudi Arabia, the real fear is democracy and an end to monarchy. Gove should send his lesson on British values to the PM and the foreign office first.

(Mr) Gove said, following the publication of Ofsted’s investigation into 21 state schools in Birmingham, that he would “put the promotion of British values at the heart of what every school has to deliver for children”.’ I do not know how anyone can claim with a straight face that “respect for the law, democracy, equality and tolerance of different faiths and religious and other beliefs” are British values. Would someone who came up with the idea of sending vans round areas of London with high immigrant populations with ‘Go Home or Face arrest’ posters on their sides meet Gove’s tolerance test ? Those that were factually inaccurate and were barred by the Advertising Standards Authority. Given that the monarch is forbidden from being a catholic it would be logical assume that Catholicism is at odds with ‘British values’ which would pose a problem for the governors of Catholic schools. Doesn’t sound practical or enforceable. Where do fundamentalist Christians fit into this proviso? Are the IRA not a form of Christian fundamentalist group that performed acts of terror on British Soil? Now I know they were not blowing stuff and people up for not believing in Jesus. A Christian sectarian terrorist group blew up Manchester City centre the in the 90s.

Gove is not stopping people from having religious convictions or barring them from taking part in public life, he’s simply stopping those views being imposed on others through the education system (and that includes everyone from Muslims to fascists). Not such a bad thing. What is weakening his position (at least in the Guardian) is referring to them as ‘British values’ – god forbid that we should be allowed to identify ourselves with anything British… other than the NHS of course. He should have referred to them as ‘values commonly held in Britain’ to neutralise the point. Personally, I take pride in coming from a democratic, fairly transparent country in which gender equality, freedom of expression and association (and until recently, freedom of the press) are held to be shared values. This isn’t about ethnicity or religion, anyone can share these views. There was a report today about Christian private schools using American textbooks that teach that women should be subservient to men, and so far there has been no media outcry – presumably because “CHRISTIANS GOOD. MUSLIMS BAD.” This the chimp who runs around as education minister. And what does he comes up with? Wind and piffle. “Respect for the law” hmm does that include Gay marriage? How will catholic, fundamentalist schools react to that? Are many openly gay teachers hired by these schools? Tolerance, yes. Wasn’t a teacher sacked from a catholic school because of what was defined as her immorality? Didn’t Gove approve of this? He is presume by going to send the hit squad into schools in Northern Ireland?

British values eh…?
Lets keep them contemporary then. British values like placing sanctions on welfare claimants, closing the ILF and reducing the independence of disabled people, placing young people in debt through student loans, exploiting young people as interns, unemployed on workfare, employed on zero hours contracts, agency and migrant labour on minimum wage if they’re lucky………why not just barr those with conservative values. Funny he chose the word “fundamental” in rather than fundamentalist British values. (i.e neo liberal values). All of which the successive governments , especially the Tories, have undermined or disregarded when it suits them. Democracy undermined by not allowing a referendum on reform of the voting system . Rule of law undermined when the laws on trespass have been altered to allow fracking under peoples homes. Individual liberty undermined by restrictions to legal aid, trial in closed courts and various terrorism laws. Mutual respect undermined by the continual attacks on those who claim benefits, the disabled and the poor in general not to mention the vilification of all immigrants. Tolerance undermined by continual vilification of migrants and Islamophobia. If “conservative Muslim beliefs were deemed to be incompatible with “British values” then individuals holding these beliefs have no place in our education system. There are conservative Christians who hold beliefs that discriminate against women and against homosexuality, and these people also have no place in our education system.
Two considerations:

(1) What are your terms of reference, Mr Gove? What are British values, precisely? Who or what defines them? Consensual yet contradictory British opinion? Or just you, alone, riding roughshod over the possibly equally valid opinions of others? The national interest – the reason of state – is not necessarily restricted to the Conservative Party, the monarchy, the establishment, the financial and political elites. Or any other of the political parties for that matter. It is rather disconcerting to read that Mr Gove intends to put vague, undefined British values at the heart of every school… and then ensure that his personal views are enforced – pardon, “delivered”, in pseudo-capitalist speak – by the schools to children. Why not get the children to define what British values are – after all, they, and their futures, are our national interest.

(2) There is no need to frame the debate on British values against the background of Islamist extremism. These are two entirely separate issues. But we agree on one thing, Mr Gove: extremism in whatever form has no place in mainstream British society.

What he misses is the fact that children need values to be taught by parents as well as teachers. They need better role models so they understand common decency, respect, humility, manners, compassion, rule of law, fairness, community-mindedness etc. Under this definition of “British values” some atheists couldn’t be a governor of a free school or academy because they are intolerant of all religions. Here’s two values: Women shouldn’t be covered. Animals should be humainly slaughtered. Are the veil and halal slaughter going to be banned? No chance.

There are many such people who post on the Guardian. I may have my differences with them, but it would be wrong to exclude them from such service to their communities simply because they have the quaint notion that religion is evil. I suggest Gove goes away and thinks this out properly from first principles. The whole point of a “free” school is that it is free from outside interference. It will stop conservative Muslims from becoming governors, what about conservatives from other religions? Why pinpoint just one community becoz you get media coverage and people attention and oh don forget votes on race basis ?. Shame on Tories Tactics. Gove, Cameron and co. have only one policy; the rest is lies, bullshit and propaganda, including the scapegoating of migrants, the poor, the sick and the disabled. That policy is Reward the Rich, Punish the Poor. By implementing that policy, they are also lining their own offshore accounts, of course, since they are among the rich people being rewarded. There must be some pretty spectacular kick-backs from billionaires and big corporations landing in Cameron’s hidden account in the Cayman Islands. That policy is hardly a “British Value”, although today’s Thatcherite NuLabour seems to share it, sadly.

Now personally, I think all schools and home educators should be fully and properly accountable for what they teach, but I accept that others may disagree with my view. But the idea that free schools are free until the Secretary of State has a panic attack is silly. Actually I think most people think multi-culturalism is a good idea. Diversity is one of our strengths. Anyone who has been cared for in a hospital will likely appreciate immigration. You are in danger of sounding like the “if they are black send them back” school of nationalism. I think too much focus has been put on the word “British” and on this particular man’s personality. If you just remove that and say that not only schools but every organisation in this country must respect human rights values and copy and paste them from this article: “Democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”… Would anyone disagree with that???
IA
London School of Islamics Trust

Reply

Iftikhar AhmadJune 24, 2014

The silent majority of Muslim parents would like to send their children to state funded Muslim schools with Muslim teachers. During a speech in Germany, the Turkish PM Erdogan said to Muslim citizens of Germany–“Assimilation or integration is a crime against humanity.” It is in fact a crime against Islam, according to Sharia law.

Children in Trojan Horse schools are generally better behaved and have higher moral and ethical standards. Ask teachers in faith schools there is no violence, low drug use and higher behaviour both ethically and morally. Is it such a shame to teach our kids some morals?? This is Trojan Horse shit. Another manipulated government lie to turn people against each other. The whole Trojan Horse story has more holes in it than a string vest, we should look deeper into these things before we start to judge. One letter from one individual to another gets into the hands of another individual and is conveniently leaked to the media, it’s alleged, no proof, no witnesses and all of a sudden we have to believe what we read in the media, Bollocks. How many times have we witnessed media lies to support a political end, look under the skin and check details yourselves, don’t believe blindly. The Trojan Horse in education in England and Wales is Michael Gove. Presumably once Scotland becomes an independent country he can be deported to his birthplace so that he can concentrate on destroying the Scottish education system instead.

None of 7/7 bombers and British Muslim youths who are in Syria and Iraq are the product of Muslim schools. They are the product of British schooling which is the home of institutional racism with chicken racist native teachers. It is absurd to believe that Muslim schools, Imams and Masajid teach Muslim children anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-western views. It is dangerously deceptive and misleading to address text books and discuss them out of their historical, cultural and linguistic context. It is not wrong to teach children that Jews are committing the same cruelty in Palestine what German did to them before or during Second World War. It is not wrong to teach children that anti-social behaviour, drinking, drugs, homosexuality, sex before marriage, teenage pregnancies and abortions are western values and Islam is against all such sins. This does not mean that Muslim schools teach children to hate westerners, Jews and homosexuals.

Only less than 10% of Muslim children go to Muslim schools and over 90% go to state schools to be mis-educated AND DE-EDUCATED BY STATE SCHOOLS WITH NON-Muslim TEACHERS. All those Muslim youths who are in Syria and Iraq, are the product of state schools where they could not develop their linguistic, cultural Identities. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage and are unable to enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. It is an educational issue. It is nothing to do with integration or segregation.

The shocking level of targeting of the Muslim community of Birmingham is indicative of the normalisation of the dehumanisation of the Muslims of Britain. Under the pretext of “extremism”, criminal undemocratic and unethical abuse of public institutions and the Muslims of the UK can occur without much accountability. This pervasive attitude, especially amongst officials like Michael Gove needs to change. Our schools are truly trying to develop our children to do well at schools so later in life they are able to stand on their own two feet, but if we stop our schools from doing this than our country will have up rise of unemployment, benefit issues, crime levels high, I think its time for you apologize and allow practitioners to do their job right.
IA

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